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Costly Chicago Strike

Windy City teachers are striking, leaving approximately 350,000 students out of class today. It is unclear how long these students will be out of school. The Chicago Teachers Union got nearly 90% of its members to authorize this strike, surpassing the 75% threshold required by law to authorize a strike. The teachers union says pay is not at the heart of the stalemate, but rather benefits and teacher evaluations.

Tensions with teachers unions have been brewing since Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel has been pushing for longer days and tougher teacher evaluations. The CTU has made it clear they’re unhappy with Chicago reform proposals, even going as far as protesting at Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s house at one point. Unfortunately, this commotion is over evaluations that aren’t that strong to begin with — student performance only counts 25% in teacher evaluations, and that’s only by year five.

There’s a common misconception out there that teachers generally do not make very much money, but the average teacher salary in Chicago is $71,000 without benefits. CPS offered teachers a 16% pay raise, but the Chicago Teachers Union would not accept that offer. That raise was offered while the longer day issue was actually worked out so that current teachers would not have to work over the allotted hours they already work; CPS agreed to hire more teachers to fill in the extra hours students would be in school. The 90 minutes added to the school day would put CPS at the national average for student instructional time. Before that, CPS had the shortest school day in the nation.

Taxpayers are left to bear the brunt of the strike, as parents and students are left without the education their taxes support. Not only that, but taxpayers are the ones who have to

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Closing Protest Gets Personal

The Chicago Teachers Union is behind the protest at Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s house, according to press releases handed out by CPS officials. Protestors are upset about the city’s plan to close or restructure failing schools, saying city officials didn’t take time to listen to community concerns or notify parents of what was going on. CPS fights back saying, “what has been tried in the past has not worked and going back to the same failed policies is not in the best interest of our students.”

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